With the casual panache of a relieved Father Christmas making the last of his year's deliveries I have tipped this load of goodies down the chimney in no particular order. But from the disorderly pile in your fireplace you should have no trouble finding tidings of comfort and joy to sustain you through the excesses of food, drink, relations, The Great Escape, being expected to run the central heating during daylight hours, the dog-walking, the plethora of unwanted socks, visitors and unaccustomed bonhomie all of which tend to take the festivity out of the Festive Season.
So, welcome to -
Annie Fisher on the booze --
Mae Scanlan with a small but fundamental panacea --
Jerome Betts and a whole lot of bull --
Susan Jarvis having the run of the dessert trolley as well as the waiter --
Chris O'Carroll's nicest vice --
Alanna Blake as you have never thought of her before --
Geoff Lander and an Essex bird --
Leo Vincent harbouring hopes for a young bird --
Gail White in an irrational and almost-all-embracing grump --
The prime-time plans of D A Prince --
Brendan Beary on the demise of a fine off-road eaterie --
Robert Schechter leaving his mark --
Julie Kane getting a dog --
Lynn Roberts evolving from primal soup to poolside critic --
Catherine Chandler on the art of keeping --
Newcomer J Patrick Lewis in short measures --
Second newcomer, antipodean Steve Herbert with a tale of bovine skullduggery --
The cognoscenti will immediately realise that two of this list are current Poet Laureates ! (Eat your hearts out all other light verse publications !) For the not-quite-so-cognoscenti I will tell you that Julie Kane is the current Louisiana Poet Laureate while J Patrick Lewis is the present US Children's Poet Laureate. Congratulations to both of them on their appointments.
I eagerly await Submissions from our own Laureate on the British side of the pond.
In the meantime I send a big thank you to all for contributing to, for supporting, for reading and for passing on the news that Lighten Up Online exists. This Issue marks the end of our fifth year. I am game for another one if you are.
A happy Christmas and my best wishes to you all for a really successful New Year.